The third section of the CAE speaking exam is considered to be very tough. Your performance in this part not only depends on you but also on your partner. You are not asked questions by the examiner, rather you have to do a discussion with your partner. If you or your partner is shy or does not have confidence enough to engage a stranger in a talk, you may face trouble in this part. But don’t worry, we have written this article to help you score great in CAE Speaking Part 3 as well. Continue reading to know further.

Overview of C1 Advanced (CAE) Speaking Part 3

This third part of the speaking exam is also called a collaborative task. The examiner gives you and your partner some pictures with written and oral instructions. You are supposed to discuss the given photographs and keywords with your partner. You have to do a mutual discussion of about 3 minutes. After that, the examiner will ask you a question that will require you to make a choice. You will be given one additional minute to decide after discussing it with your partner.

The theme of this part is usually universal. It may be about sports, health, environment, communication, etc. Usually, you have to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a particular thing. For example, in the communication theme, you may be asked to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various means of communication. In the end, you will be asked to choose the best mode of communication.

The purpose of this part is to judge whether you can discuss various topics with other people in English or not. What is your choice of words, pronunciation, and grammar when you talk with other people about a particular issue? It also evaluates how comfortable you are while initiating a talk with someone you don’t know very well. What are your behavior and tone while discussing with strangers?

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Tips for a better score in C1 Advanced (CAE) Speaking Part 3

The above overview may have worried you about how you will score in this part of the exam. But don’t worry, we will share some secret tips with you. If you follow these tips, we expect you to succeed in this collaborative task.

Tip 1: Ask questions

Are you shy and don’t know how to initiate talk with strangers? Asking questions is always a good way to initiate a discussion with strangers. The same is true in the case of the collaborative task of the Speaking exam. Initiate a discussion with your partner by asking him questions. For example, in the case of the communication theme, you may initiate the discussion by asking: What do you think is a swift way of communication nowadays? What is the easily accessible mode of communication? In this way, you and your partner will open up to each other and will develop an understanding.

Tip 2: Talk about the advantages and disadvantages

The discussion can be carried on by talking about the advantages and disadvantages of the given things. You can tell your partner the advantages you think of a particular object. If he mentions some advantages, you can agree with him and can also tell him about the disadvantages you have in your mind. For example, in the case of communication theme, you can tell your partner that emailing is now the global and most swift way of communication in the world. It is easy and is very cheap. You can also mention its disadvantages like it is not a good choice in case you want to communicate with someone in a country in which there is no access to the internet or internet access is limited. In this way, you can easily carry the discussion to three minutes, the required task in CAE Speaking Part 3.

Tip 3: Include your partner in every step

During the discussion, don’t forget that you and your partner both are being evaluated. You should include your partner in every step. Allow him to say what he thinks. You can agree or disagree with him. Keep him engaged in the discussion. You should always react to the ideas of your partner. Ask his views on different topics, which is important, especially in CAE Speaking Part 3. Don’t consume all the time speaking to yourself. Engaging your partner in the discussion will leave a positive impression on the examiner. He will acknowledge your good intentions and consider them while awarding you a score.

Tip 4: Give proper time to each topic

You are given almost five topics to discuss. People usually get stuck on one topic. They consume most of their time discussing one topic only. Other people rush through all the topics without analyzing them properly. Both of these approaches are wrong. They will leave a very bad impression on the examiner.

Our advice is to divide the time properly. Try to discuss all the topics properly. Give equal time to each topic. Jump from one topic to another using linking words. In the end, you should also use proper ending sentences to end the discussion.

Tip 5: Making a choice

In CAE Speaking Part 3, you will be asked to decide and make the best choice among the things you discussed with your partner. Utilize the complete minute discussion with your partner to reach a discussion. This will allow you to use more words from your vocabulary. This will make the examiner think you are very proficient in English and can carry on a long discussion. During this minute, ask your partner about his choice, discuss its merits and de-merits, and tell him about what you think could be a better choice. Properly answer the examiner while telling him about your choice. Mention the reasons why you have made this decision.

Tip 6: Things to avoid

People make several mistakes in this section. You should try to avoid all of them in case you want to score better than others. Avoid irrelevant talk, going out of the way, nodding and using other non-verbal means of communication, and sitting silently staring at the walls. These things can ruin your whole day. The examiners are very conscious of them.

If you strictly adhere to these instructions, we believe you will score much better in the CAE Speaking Part 3.


We hope that this article on CAE Speaking Part 3 was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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